Last Thursday (World Mental Health day, appropriately enough) Mark and I set off on a trip to Bridlington. It was a fine, bright day with sunlight sparkling on the waves, but we were’t there for a paddle.
We were attending an awards ceremony of the Duke of York’s Community Initiative. Regular readers will remember that this Royal Award is presented to community projects based in Yorkshire which are ‘of real value to the community, well run and an inspiration to others’.
Orb first received the award last year after a lot of hard work demonstrating to the assessors just why Orb met all of these criteria.
An opportunity to meet . . .
Mark, of course, is now an old hand at these royal functions – practically one of the family. As a newcomer (and confirmed people-watcher) I found it an interesting opportunity to see the machinery of such events in action. To bow, or not to bow? And how much polite chat adds up to ‘hogging the limelight’?
It was interesting also to see how the Duke of York, meeting each group in turn, showed as much curiosity, helpfulness and interest in the last Community Project he was regaled with as in the first. It was an excellent morale booster.
But the great strength of occasions like this lies in the opportunity it gives everyone to meet like -minded people, all engaged in a wide variety of projects, and steal their ideas . . . sorry, ‘creatively interact’ with them. We are pretty multi-faceted at Orb and we made lots of new friends who were enthusiastically engaged in mental health support, art, IT, music and, of course gardening.
A very welcome cash injection
We were there this time to receive a £1,000 grant from the Initiative’s Innovation Fund. This is one of five grants given to Award holders like Orb who are beginning, or building on, a recent innovative project. In our case, the grant will go to sustain our Eco garden, initially set up with the aid of a grant from Ecominds.
A garden is a lovesome thing, god wot, as somebody once said – and as, no doubt, we all constantly repeat. But the Orb garden is special for so many reasons. It has turned a patch of waste land into something beautiful and productive. It provides a great venue (and some great food) for our FEVA concert. It gives us wider links with the community through organisations such as the Army Foundation College and Your Consortium‘s group of volunteers from the Chain Lane Centre, who have all helped to make the garden that little bit better.
Above all, the garden brings to life Orb’s commitment to buiding mental wellbeing through hands-on creativity.
So, many thanks to the Duke of York’s Innovation Fund. It’s good to know we can keep it all growing for another year.